James E. McWilliams

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James E. McWilliams
EducationGeorgetown University (B.A., 1991); Harvard University (Ed.M., 1994); University of Texas at Austin (M.A., 1996); Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D., 2001)
OccupationAuthor, professor
Notable work
Just Food: How Locavores are Endangering the Future of Food and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly (2009), American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT (2008)
Home townAtlanta
Spouse(s)Leila McWilliams (1995–present)
WebsiteJames McWilliams: Texas State University

James E. McWilliams (born 28 November 1968) is Professor of history at Texas State University. He specializes in American history, of the colonial and early national period, and in the environmental history of the United States. He also writes for The Texas Observer and the History News Service, and has published a number of op-eds on food in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today. Some of his most popular articles advocate veganism.


He received his B.A. in Philosophy from Georgetown University in 1991, his Ed.M. from Harvard University in 1994, his M.A. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996, and his Ph.D. in History from Johns Hopkins University in 2001.[1] He won the Walter Muir Whitehill Prize in Early American History awarded by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts for 2000,[2] and won the Hiett Prize in the Humanities from the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture in 2009.[3] He has been a fellow in the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University.[4]

McWilliams married Leila C. Kempner on March 18, 1995.[5] James and Leila and their two children live in Austin, Texas.[1]

McWilliams is an avid runner[6] and a vegan.[7]



  • McWilliams, James E. (October 2013). The Pecan: A History of America's Native Nut. University Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-74916-0.
  • McWilliams, James E. (2013-04-24). The Politics of the Pasture. Lantern Books.
  • McWilliams, James E. (2009-08-15). Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0316033749. OCLC 319868125.
  • McWilliams, James E. (2008-06-17). American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0231139427. OCLC 187394546. (held in 754 worldCat libraries)[8]
    • Review: "American Pests": Our wrongheaded approach to insect control: Bugged to death: James E. McWilliams takes on insects, agriculture and pesticides in "American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT." By Irene Wanner, The Seattle Times, August 8, 2008 [1]
  • McWilliams, James E. (2007-06-12). Building the Bay Colony: Local Economy and Culture in Early Massachusetts. University of Virginia Press. ISBN 978-0813926360. OCLC 76820854.
  • McWilliams, James E. (2005-06-01). A Revolution In Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America. Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0231129923. OCLC 850974749.(held in 868 worldCat libraries) [9]
  • McWilliams, James E. (January 2015). The Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals. Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 978-1-250-03119-8.

Peer-reviewed articles[edit]

  • “The horizon opened up very greatly.: Leland O. Howard and the Transition to Chemical Insecticides in the United States, 1894–1927” Agricultural History (Fall 2008).
  • “Cuisine and National Identity in the Early Republic,” Historically Speaking (May/June 2006), 5–8.
  • ”African Americans, Native Americans, and the Origins of American Food,” The Texas Journal of History and Genealogy. Volume 4 (2005), pp. 12–16.
  • " 'how unripe we are': An Intellectual Construction of American Food,” Food, Society, and Culture (Fall 2005), pp. 143–160.
  • “‘To Forward Well-Flavored Productions’: The Kitchen Garden in Early New England.” The New England Quarterly (March 2004), p. 25-50.
  • “Integrating Primary and Secondary Sources,” Teaching History (Spring 2004), pp. 3–14.
  • “The Transition from Capitalism and the Consolidation of Authority in the Chesapeake Bay Region, 1607–1760: An Interpretive Model,” Maryland Historical Magazine (Summer 2002), pp. 135–152.
  • “New England’s First Depression: An Export-Led Interpretation,” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History (Summer 2002), pp. 1–20 .
  • “Work, Family, and Economic Improvement in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts Bay,” The New England Quarterly (September 2001), pp. 355–384. (Winner of the 2000 Whitehill Prize in Colonial History for the best essay published that year in colonial history).
  • “Brewing Beer in Massachusetts Bay, 1640–1690.” The New England Quarterly (December 1998), pp. 353–384.

Popular articles[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Blaschke, Jayme (2009-03-17). "James McWilliams awarded Hiett Prize in the Humanities". Texas State University. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  2. ^ "Whitehill Prize Past Winners". Northeastern University. 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-12-07. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  3. ^ Mosley, Joe, ed. (2011-04-19). "'Contrarian agrarian' challenges assumptions about eating sustainably". AroundtheO. University of Oregon. Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
  4. ^ "American Pests (book review)". Columbia University Press. New York City. Retrieved 2013-07-08. a recent fellow in the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University.
  5. ^ "James E McWilliams married Leila C Kempner on March 18, 1995 in Texas". Marriages in Texas, 1966–2010. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  6. ^ King, David. "Rising Star James McWilliams". Texas State University. Archived from the original on 2013-10-08. Retrieved 2013-07-09. He is an avid runner
  7. ^ McWilliams, James E. (2013-06-23). "The Importance of Being Unsure". Eating Plants Blog. Archived from the original on 2013-07-09. Retrieved 2013-07-09. But, since becoming a vegan, I can sometimes see why the stereotype persists.
  8. ^ http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/187394546&referer=brief_results
  9. ^ http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/56942105&referer=brief_results

External links[edit]